The science behind happy hour

    Proof author Adam Rogers explains our relationship with booze.

    Proof author Adam Rogers explains our relationship with booze.

    “Proof” author Adam Rogers explains our relationship with booze.

    It’s always happy hour somewhere, and in his recently released book “Proof: The Science of Booze,” Wired magazine editor Adam Rogers details the chains of events (both chemical and historical) that led to the whiskey sour, pinot noir, or microbrewed beer you’re about to raise to your lips.

    Rogers says that ethanol (which we typically refer to as “alcohol” when we’re talking about booze) is the product of humanity’s strengths. “It relies on 150 million years of evolution, 10,000 years of human ingenuity, 2,000 of human technology… everything that makes us human is wrapped up in that glass that’s in front of you on that coaster,” he says emphatically.

    And though we’ve studied it copiously and consumed it liberally, Rogers says many things about ethanol and its affects on us are still a mystery, including how it influences our behavior when we’re drinking it.

    “Of all of the recreational drugs that human beings indulge in, ethanol’s the only one that there’s not a good mechanism articulated for,” he argues. “If you really push on a neuroscientist, they can’t tell you what the receptor in the brain is that’s affected by alcohol.”

    In his book, Rogers details humanity’s long relationship with drink, and he explores the eternal booze-related questions, such as – why are some more affected by drinking? Do men really have a higher tolerance for booze? Do drinks like tequila and absinthe really have psychotropic effects? And what is the best cure for a hangover? You’ll have to listen to the interview to hear the answer to that one.

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